Bulls giving forward Patrick Williams no choice but to play film critic
Until the injured second-year player can start the rehab strengthening process for his surgically repaired wrist, a timetable for his return is nothing but a blind guess. Coach Billy Donovan has been keeping Williams busy with film work and scouting reports.
For the first time in his young career, Bulls forward Patrick Williams is getting a look at how scouting reports are put together rather than simply reading them.
The hope for the Bulls and coach Billy Donovan is that the injured Williams comes out of it having a better understanding of the mental part of the NBA game. Time will tell.
‘‘In talking to him a little bit, it’s opened up some things for him — being a young player — to see,’’ Donovan said Sunday. ‘‘I’m not saying he’s presenting scouting reports to the team, but he’s back there in the video room with the video guys, getting a chance to do a lot of that film work.
‘‘In talking to him about that perspective, it’s a lot different than being out there on the floor because it’s a lot slower when you’re watching it on film and you can break it down. We’ve tried to keep him engaged that way, and he’s done a really good job.’’
As far as a more detailed timeline on Williams returning from surgery on his left wrist, that hasn’t changed one way or the other. He was expected to miss the regular season, and things are up in the air until he gets deeper into the rehabilitation process.
Might he be back for a playoff run or even earlier? Donovan isn’t into making predictions.
‘‘He’s got the cast off, [and] he’s obviously doing a lot of rehab to regain some strength in his forearm and his wrist,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘The surgery was incredibly detailed in terms of what he had done, so it was really critical that he didn’t do anything with that hand [initially]. He did a good job, and he’s progressing. Now the next step is getting back his range of motion, getting back his strength.’’
Williams’ injury was obviously a huge gut punch to him and to the franchise. He was the first draft pick of executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas’ regime and showed flashes of being a legit two-way player as a rookie last season.
Williams looked tentative in the five regular-season games he played in before suffering the injury, but that was almost expected, given the massive roster flip the Bulls went through during the offseason.
What will be interesting for the Bulls if Williams can make it back late in the regular season or for the playoffs is how much they would use him. Unless the Bulls make a deal by the trade deadline Feb. 10, Williams would give them their best option at power forward, especially from a size standpoint.
On the other hand, the Bulls’ chemistry with him sidelined has been stellar, so how much would they want to mess with that?
It’s a problem Donovan and Williams hope they’ll have to figure out.
Donovan had some good news on the injury front, as the testing numbers for guard Alex Caruso to get out of the NBA’s health-and-safety protocols continued going in the right direction. The Bulls are hoping for a clearer timetable Monday, when Caruso is scheduled to test again.
The forecasts for forwards Javonte Green (groin) and Tyler Cook aren’t as promising.
‘‘Javonte is progressing, he’s getting better, but I think he’s still weeks away,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘Tyler is at least walking and moving around now, but I’d say he’s still a couple of weeks away from being available.’’